Justin Crump is used to skeptics. As a practicing medium, he’s met plenty of people who are quick to call him a fraud. But his skills are real and while he doesn’t fully understand them, they allow him to do good work for people, and spirits, in need. When Justin meets Albert Henderson, he knows the man will never be a believer, but Albert loves his mother enough to pay for Justin’s services.
Justin travels to the Henderson’s small estate to help dispatch an uncomfortable spirit. With Albert at his side, first as naysayer and then as a reluctant partner, they uncover the truth behind a small boy’s death and expose an evil beyond imagination. Along the way, Justin and Albert will make discoveries of their own that could change everything about how they view the world.
The Medium is a fine return for Bonnie Dee, whose works I have regularly enjoyed. Justin and Albert are well developed characters, each with their own demons, but both determined to help a child who is long dead. Their tentative relationship is first sweet and then passionate and Arthur’s slow acceptance of himself feels believable. Arthur can be quite hypocritical at times, but he does recognize this failing in himself and it made him more relatable in many ways. Justin is a bit cheeky, which makes him endearing, but his confidence and sense of self makes him incredibly engaging. There are several very British moments in The Medium, and you’ll recognize them right away. I laughed out loud on several occasions, which was unexpected in a story with such dark themes. One theme in particular may cause triggers for some of you, so understand this book deals with childhood sexual abuse. And while it’s handled well, the author doesn’t shy from the difficulty of the topic either.
The Medium is paced well for three-fourths of the book. The last quarter tends to go off the rails a bit and reads as somewhat more jumbled than the rest. Part of that is the chaos of the situation, which is understandable, but there’s also a sense that some pieces just don’t fit quite as well as they should. There is a hurried epilogue that honestly doesn’t add much and I never understand why authors feel the need to add this sort of thing. It doesn’t affect the wider story and works more like filler than providing a meaningful moment for the readers.
Overall, The Medium was a dark, but enjoyable, read. Justin and Albert are wonderfully sweet characters and their journey, while difficult, creates an intriguing story. There are some issues with the last portion of the book, but on the whole, any fan of historical romances or paranormal works, is going to enjoy this one.